The Workforce Grantmaking in Native Nations and Communities Initiative was initiated after a series of funder-to-funder conversations convened by Workforce Matters and supported by the Northwest Area Foundation starting in late 2021. This group of funders met regularly for a year to deepen its collective informed understanding and strategize about how philanthropy can increase the level and enhance the relevance, adaptability, and impact of its funding commitments in support of workforce development efforts designed by and for Native nations and communities (inclusively referred to as “Indian Country”).

Through an iterative process conducted in direct consultation with leading Indian Country workforce development organizations policy advisors, funders, tribal leaders, and on-the-ground practitioners, the group identified five emerging consensus priorities for philanthropic work and investment, on which it plans to take collective action beginning in 2023:

  • Addressing the Specific Capacity Needs of Leading Indian Country Workforce Development Organizations
  • Assessing the Broad Capacity Building Needs of the Indian Country Workforce Development Field
  • Technical Assistance Resource Development and Dissemination for Indian Country Workforce Development Practitioners
  • Investing in and Scaling Native-led Workforce Development Approaches
  • Strengthening Federal and State Workforce Development Policies and Funding that Advance the Consensus Priorities of Native Nations and Organizations 

Workforce Grantmaking in Native Nations and Communities (WGNNC) Advisory Committee Members 

WGNNC is led by an Advisory Committee, which is currently composed of key representatives of philanthropic organizations committed to advancing WGNNC's priorities and work. 

The current Advisory Committee members are:

  • Alvin Warren, LANL Foundation
  • Courtenay Barton, AllState Foundation
  • Danielle Vetter, MetLife
  • Jen Racho, Northwest Area Foundation
  • Kelly Miyamura, The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation
  • Kirstin Yeado, Ascendium Education Group
  • Miguel Cambray, JPMorgan Chase
  • Robert Medeiros, Kamehameha Schools
  • Loh-Sze Leung, Workforce Matters
  • Ian Record, Consultant
  • Natasha Hale, Consultant

We firmly believe tribal communities most pressing problems in the workforce sector must be solved and led by tribal practitioners, Native nation leaders, and policy experts.  We have extended invitations to proven and emerging tribal leaders and practitioners in the sector to participate in the advisory committee to guide the grantmaking process.

Sign up here to learn more about these efforts. For questions, please reach out to Workforce Matters at

Resources for Workforce Development in Native Nations and Communities

The concept of workforce development varies by cultures. For most Native nations and communities, it is more holistic and collective than it is in non-Native mainstream cultures. In Indian Country, workforce development is about building the human capacities to rebuild Native nations and communities. It is about preserving cultures, languages, and ways of life to ensure prosperity for future generations. This includes a focus on all Native community members, young people to adults.  The links below can help build your knowledge base in this critical sector of work: